SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield School District, in the coming weeks, will be installing vaping detectors at the high school.
“We realize that vaping is a serious health concern and this is just one more tool to keep our student population safe,” Dr. Noreen Lishak, superintendent of the South Plainfield School District, told TAPinto South Plainfield.
District officials are currently exploring locations throughout the building to install the detectors, with student restrooms and other areas not currently covered by traditional surveillance cameras being considered. Once installed, the device will notify administrators, via wireless signal to a smartphone and/or computer, if environmental changes occur.
According to the South Plainfield High School (SPHS) Student-Parent Handbook, ‘any student in possession and/or use of any tobacco product, e-cigarette, or vaporizer, or other electronic smoking device, or component’ will be subject to ramifications in accordance with the district’s ‘smoking’ policy.
“Four things will happen and, for the student, none of them they like,” said Robert Diehl, interim principal of SPHS.
In addition to being suspended, a student caught vaping must undergo mandatory drug testing within 24 hours, appear in municipal court, and pay a fine. Subsequently, if a positive drug screening is returned, the student will be subject to disciplinary consequences set forth in the district’s ‘Substance Abuse’ policy.
“The health and safety of the student body is our paramount priority,” said Juvenile Det. Sgt. Shaun Clifford of the South Plainfield Police Department. “We are here to work hand in hand with the schools and assist the administration in anything they need.”
Clifford added that, while tobacco use is going down, vaping use is going up, especially in the high school age group. As a result, the department currently runs a Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD) program at the middle and elementary schools.. “We are getting the education out there on the health risks involved and our goal is that, the more we do, the less it will go on,” he said.
“We believe that something like this can help us maximize our efforts to keep our students safe and healthy,” said Diehl, noting that administrators in schools with similar devices reported ‘curtailed use.’ “They have found that the number of instances has been reduced.”